Most of these repairs will apply to all Generation 3 Plymouth, Dodge, and Chrysler minivans. So the key words are Gen 3, Gen III, Gen Three, Generation Three. Generation III Chrysler, Dodge, and Plymouth mini-vans were built in 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, and 2000. In fact, the photo illustrations for the water pump replacement on that page are from a 1993 Chrysler Town and Country with a 3.3 liter engine. The process for changing the pump is the same except for the splash guard. The pumps are the same, too.
I also have a 1998 Chrysler Town and Country (T&C) LT and a 2000 Chrysler T & C LIMITED and some of the repairs were for them. All three of these mini-vans have the 3.8 liter V-6 engine.
Since I started this page, I purchased a 1999 T&C Limited (May 2012) and I have had intermittent interior power problems ever since I got it home. The problems still aren't solved. It's hard to believe that I drove it around northwest Arkansas for several days and then the 550 miles home without a single problem, and then the next day it went crazy! (See BCM and Ignition Switch Replacement pages for the problems I've had with it.) The nice thing is that it only has 110,000 miles on it, and if I get it fixed I should have another 70,000 miles of trouble-free driving. (The low mileage is confirmed by the previous owner's hand written oil change records and the previous titles.)
The Plymouth was a special edition and thus the "Expresso" designation. My Expresso doesn't have the mileage, time, distance, temperature, and direction computer display like the Chryslers. It has cloth seats like the 1998 Chrysler, but they are not power seats. The Plymouth has "dual" headlight not the "quad" headlights like the Chryslers have. I think that the "dual" (or single as I would call it) would interchange as far as mounting bolts go, but the access holes for the up/down adjusters are in different places. Unfortunately, the transmission has gone out, so my beloved Expresso may become a parts car for the three T&Cs.
As of May 2012:
1998 Plymouth Grand Voyager Expresso - 181,000 (but the transmission went out - saving for parts)
1998 Chrysler Town and Country LT - 195,490
1999 Chrysler Town and Country LIMITED - 138,000 2000 Chrysler Town and Country LIMITED - 196,645
All were bought used with 100,000 to 110,000 miles on the odometers: the Plymouth from a Honda dealership for $6,700; the 2000 T&C from a used car dealerkship that delt with customers with poor credit ratings - we got it for $7000 cash; and the 1998 T&C from an individual for $4000. Previously we owned a 1990 Chrysler Town and Country that we bought from an individual at the end of a five-year lease for $12,000. They were very happy to get what they asked for. A 1993 T&C is going to Pick A Part for salvage. Our most recent purchase was a 1999 T&C two-owner with low mileage for about $7,350 from a big used car place in Fayetteville, Arkansas.
I found this on Wikipedia:
* 1996–2000: 3.3 L EGA V6, 158 hp (118 kW), 203 lb·ft (275 N·m)
* 1996–1997: 3.8 L EGH V6, 166 hp (124 kW), 227 lb·ft (308 N·m)
* 1998–2000: 3.8 L EGH V6, 180 hp (130 kW), 240 lb·ft (330 N·m)
HOME (SHADETREE) AUTO REPAIR: Work safely. I can't guarantee that you won't hurt yourself; you have to do that yourself. I can't guarantee that you won't damage you car if you attempt these repairs yourself. I just hope that, by showing how I did a successful home repair, you can decide whether you should attempt a particular job and that it will be easier then just going by trial and error.
Alternate Transportation - Having access to alternate transportation is a big factor in making home auto repair a little easier. You often find that you need another part, tool, or various fluids after your car is disabled and you'll need transportation to get them. Then there are times when you end up with the wrong part.
A Place to Work - An indoor location with climate control and good lighting would be great, but lack of an indoor place resulted in the "shade tree" designation in the first place. But beyond that, will you be allowed to work on your vehicle in the street? Or even in your drive? The city or your landlord may have restriction on that.
Fluid Disposal - Landlords and cities don't want you to dispose of auto fluids on the property. So collect your oil and return it to the retailer that supplies it. Retailers may take transmission fluid and antifreeze mixture, too. Perhaps your city has a hazardous waste disposal program that you can use.
Tools - If you start with simple jobs, you can gradually collect tools to help with more complicated jobs in the future. Try to use the right tool. Adjustable end wrenches usually won't replace a set of end wrenches that have both open and closed ends or a set of each. Sometimes, though, adjustable, locking pliers are the only things that will work on some jobs. Socket wrenches with a rachet handle and a "break-over" bar can make the work much easier. A 3/8" drive set of socket wrenches will work for most jobs. Later you may need to invest in a 1/4" drive set and perhaps a big 1/2" drive set. Of course, we still need both metric and SAE sizes.Buy good screw drivers and use the correct tip and size.
Special Tools - Sometimes the cost you save on labor will pay for a special tool. Then you will have the tool for future jobs or to lend to friends.
INDEX OF REPAIR PAGES:
Motor (Engine) Mount Replacement - This job isn't too bad if you have two hydraulic floor jacks, one to lift the vehicle to make a little working room and another to lift the engine to take weight off the motor mount. The rest is simple.
Electric Window Regulator Replacement - In some ways this job isn't too bad, but in other ways it could become frustrating for a beginner. Maybe these photos and notes will help.
Headlight Assembly Replacement - This job was actually much easier than I expected.
Headlight Aiming - You can do this yourself, if you have a 5/32" socket wrench (or equivalent mm socket) and a blank wall that you can drive up to.
Drum Brake Inspection - I pulled the left drum on my 1998 Chrysler T&C minivan to inspect the linings and the wheel cylinder. These photos may help you. Later, I'll document the repair and update the page. (9/20/13)
EGR Valve Swap - The Exhaust Gas Recirculation (EGR) valve is difficult to get to, but it's right there under the intake manifold near the throttle body and beside the brake master cylinder. Two 10mm bolts hold the valve to the driver's side of the intake manifold. The electrical connector has a safety catch. It's a little hard to release the safety catch and the regular catch. I was able to turn the component around to get to the catches with a flat-blade screwdriver. The video shows what I did.
Water Pump Replacement - This is relatively easy if the pump is all you have to replace, and if you have a tool to release the tension on the serpentine belt.
Serpentine Belt Tensioner Replacement - This job is much easier than I had anticipated. The front end needs to be raised such as on ramps. Do this carefully and block the wheels. You'll need a belt tensioner release tool, and you'll need a 15mm socket with U-joint, a few inches of extensions, and a rachet handle.
LOOSEN BELT TENSION - The problem here is to get the right tool. Once you have the right tool, just do what I explain here. I'll also show a photo of the tubing handle I fitted to a 15mm end wrench to work where a store-bought wrench wouldn't work.
Radiator Replacement - This is a difficult job. Several things have to be removed before the radiator will come out. Some of the bolts are difficult to reach. In the video I refer to Torx-head bolts holding the A/C condensor coils to the radiator. After removing them I saw that they are also hex-head; 10 mm like the ones holding the fan assembly to the radiator.
BCM Replacement - Replacing the Body Control Module is also a difficult job. First, it's difficult to diagnosis BCM problems. If it seems your car theft alarm is controlling the starting process when it shouldn't be, if the interior lights don't come on when you open the door and you know the door switches are working, if the 'key in the lock' tone doesn't work, and if the automatic door locks seem to lock at odd times, it may be because of BCM problems. Beginners may find it too involved to do all that has to be done to get the BCM out and back in. Look at the photos and see what you think.
Starter Relay Connections - I still don't have the BCM/Instrument Panel problem sorted out. At one point the starter wouldn't turn over with the key switch in the start position. I didn't think the starter had gone bad and wanted a way to check it by bypassing the start relay which should bypass all that anti-theft and other computer stuff. This page describes the internal circuit of the start relay and the connections at the relay socket.
Intermittent Starter Troubleshooting - Sometimes starters go bad, sometimes they don't. I point out some things to check for before replacing a starter. I followed those steps and received a pleasant surprise.
Ignition Switch Replacement - This swap is easier than you might think. Deciding whether it needs to be done is the difficult part. You'll need a #10 Torx tip screwdriver for tamper-proof screws. (The tip with a hole in the end.) I installed a new switch, and found that it wasn't the solution to my intermittent instrument cluster power problem. But if you need to replace your switch, this will show you how.
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